Conte relieved seeing Chelsea through to R16, to now prep Blues for Liverpool encounter

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After watching Chelsea demolish 10-man Qarabag 4-0 in Baku to book their place in the Champions League knockout stage, manager Antonio Conte says his mind had already turned to devising a tactical game plan to face Liverpool

Willian struck twice while Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas converted penalties as the Blues picked apart the Group C minnows, who saw captain Rashad Sadygov sent off in the 19th minute for hauling down the Brazilian in the box at the Olympic Stadium in Baku.

The result came as a welcome relief after the disappointment of Chelsea’s last game in the competition against Roma which ended in a 3-0 defeat.

Chelsea’s head coach disclosed that he would spend the six-hour flight back to London thinking about how best to set up against Liverpool on Saturday.

Speaking during his post-match press conference, the former Juventus coach said, “I think after tonight we must be pleased that we reached our first target to go through to the next round.

“To avoid Atletico game to be decisive for us. It will be a good chance to have another rotation with the players. It is very positive for us in a game that I knew very well it wouldn’t be easy.

“Atletico drew twice and Roma struggled, it means we faced a really good team.”

Liverpool are having an extra 24 hours of rest after undertaking a significantly less arduous trip to Spain to face Sevilla on Tuesday night, but Jurgen Klopp’s men endured a far more gruelling ordeal on the pitch, surrendering a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Reacting to the game, Conte said, “I watched the game. In the first half they played a really good game, but football is strange. What happened in the first half is difficult to explain. They had chances to score other goals, but they were unlucky.

“The result is not important — for us it is important to prepare [for Saturday’s match] in only one session. We know the qualities of Liverpool.”

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